Top Chef and the Bronze Medal

Last night I was watching Top Chef, a show that I love for many many reasons. One of the reasons I love it: The people are talented. “Reality” shows like Big Brother, where it’s Joe Blow and his cousin Dotty Rotten sitting around trying to jack with each other don’t impress me. Show me people who have trained, who have learned their craft and then throw them in a room together and let them show who is the best…now that’s great. (I wish they could find a way to make writing seem like an interesting television endeavor…but we don’t get to use knives or fire that often.)

So the final three were chosen last night. There were two, Stephanie and Richard, who have been kicking butt fairly consistantly throughout the show. The other two were Lisa and Antonia. Now, I love Antonia but she made a mistake…and one mistake on this show (in this case some beans were a little too chewy…yeah, it’s that close) sends you packing. Unfortunately, Antonia was sent home for a bean error. This irked me because I really admired her. A single mom. Opened her own restaurant. And has made it this freakin far! I mean, wow. Overall she’s impressive.

When she left Stephanie and Richard were sincerely bummed to see her go. They’ve gone through weeks and weeks and weeks of cooking torture and tests. She was their buddy. And in their sadness at seeing her go, they forgot to congratulate Lisa on the fact that L. was gonna be going ahead on the final challenge with them. And Lisa called them on it in a very rude fashion. Something along the lines of “I know you don’t want me here but a congratulations would have been nice.”

Then Richard, in one the asides, says, “What? She wants a congrats for winning the bronze? Congrats.”


But I think it’s a legitimate point. You came very far and you did a good job. But it’s hard to remember the person in third place, in anything. In publishing, the fact that your manuscript was the editor’s third favorite pick means the difference between being published period.

And then there’s the winning gracefully. I mean, there are two people who are missing their friend. Give ’em two seconds before reaming them for not saying “Hi, glad you’re here. We’re gonna kick you ass next week.”

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jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Good point. I’ve talked a lot about the Olympics today, but I’ve heard criticism of athletes who seemed bummed to get silver or bronze medals. Well, they didn’t go there for silver or bronze. They went for the gold.And, really, isn’t that what all of us are doing?BTW, don’t you think Lisa made it this far because she’s a trouble-maker? Every season of Top Chef and Project Runway there’s at least one person who is always at the bottom of the voting who is also a pain in the tuckus. And that person almost always make it close to the finale. I’m thinking the producers are saying, “We need conflict. Keep him in.”What I thought was really interesting was how the 3 nice people (Stephanie, Richard and Antonia) were teamed together a few weeks back and just kicked the asses of the 3 whiny attitude-laden idiots. Yay for the nice people!

  2. You know, it wasn’t actually until she said ‘congratulate me bastards’ that I thought she was a trouble maker. I thought she was grouchy. I thought she couldn’t take criticism. But I didn’t think she was a bitch until right then. I thought Spike was the bigger pain (and actually the better cook, if you look at number of times on bottom and quickfires…)

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